That sure is a stupid title for a blog, isn’t it?
So. You understand I write horror. And if you clock my age-I’m over 40 now-you assume, “Oh, Mena def was obsessed with Anne Rice’s vampire books.”
Valid. I did read most of those books. I even liked them. But your assumption that the vampires were the beginning and end for me, you are sadly mistaken.
I was about those Mayfair Witches. Rowan Mayfair was a fucking mess, made all the worst choices, but at least she spent WAY too much time thinking about architecture.-Can relate. Also, she was a ghostfucker, so obviously I was addicted pretty much right away. I read the entire series more than once. I haven’t touched the books in years-and years and years. So I’m sure there are parts of the series I would not love at all anymore. (I remember something about aborted babies and shit, the fiction is not perfect is all I’m saying.)
But. Generations of weird women with some kind of curse over them with fucked up fucking relationships and magic? Uhhh. These books were where I wanted to BE.
I loved the series so much, my blessed mother got me the Witches’ of Mayfair Companion.
The Companion was this huge fucking tome, too big for a book shelf. I remember my copy would warp with its own gravity if I tried to stand it upright. I think I’m remembering that right.
So what was the companion? Someone went through the Witches series and picked out anything that was obscure or important to the text. I had no fucking idea what a keyhole door was, but the book told me. I was fucking living. It was like I had Anne sitting next to me whispering in my ear “that’s an allusion to Dante” or whatever.
Recall this was a time before you could just search up anything on your tiny pocket phone. I had the internet, but it was all Angelfire sites and AOL chat games for me in those days.
Anyway, that book set me on FIRE when I was young. Of course, all the stuff in the book was more or less on the page in the series. But we’re talking thousands of pages, and I was still too scared to ruin a book by annotating within it.-I was young, forgive me. But to think that all that stuff was just… in there. I marveled at how it worked. How did she KNOW so many things? How did she know about all this… stuff? I imagined her brain was like this overstuffed library full of sexy naked men who could pull up any obscure detail for her instantly from the library that was her brain.
I’m 40 now. I’ve done a lot of writing since the days of pouring over that companion and marveling at brilliance. I know the secrets.
I mean, I can’t be certain. I’ve never actually visited Anne Rice’s brain.–The real estate lady who helped us get our house (THANK YOU SO MUCH) helped her buy a house once in New Orleans. So. That’s as close as I’m gonna get. So, hey, maybe she DID just know all that stuff and get it pitch perfect on the first draft.
But I’m doubtful.
I imagine it was more like me. Rush through that first draft. (Or linger on it. IDK. She might be a thoughtful first-drafter. I’ve heard of them.) Then on second, third, the desire to punch things up means adding references. My first drafts are often filled with these [NAME] or [WORD] tags so I can go back later and do the research. Or get a second opinion on something. Or look through the last book and figure that shit out. Or reference a character I haven’t written yet in a scene that I haven’t gotten to yet.
Point is, let me peel back the curtain a little to talk about my influences, the things that influenced this book, and make a companion for myself. I’ll try to talk a little about craft too, as I go, because writing craft is almost as interesting as just writing. Or reading.
Is all this self-indulgent? Sure. But this is my blog so like, what else would you expect? 😛
Speaking of, pre-order Reaching In on Amazon right now! (We’ll have Reaching In other places too if Amazon is not your place. Don’t sweat it!)